Chapter 23: The Stars Align in Spring
Standard disclaimer applies here guys.
As a note this chapter is set 1 ½ years after the previous chapter. Yeah! I fast-forwarded again.
By the way, you are free to speculate which Asian country Ami is from, so go search which Asian countries has a 1 hour time difference from Japan (^_^) and choose for your selves which country you want Ami to be from.
Warning: Very Long Chapter!
The dawn was breaking through Kunimitsu's window and the light was piercing his eyes which were still lazily shut. It was not like him to still be in bed at this hour of day. He was so used to getting up and jogging around the neighbourhood even before the sun shone. Nevertheless, today was different, he just wanted to lie in bed and keep his eyes shut. Because today he woke up with his heart overwhelmed with joy. Because last night he dreamt of her, but unlike the dreams, he's been having for the past how many years, in his dream, she was not crying, she was smiling the way she used to, the way he knew she does. So lazily, he opens his eyes, turns to his side and smiles. Ami, I finally saw you smile again, even if only in my dreams.
It's been six years since he met the girl in the mirror; it's been five and a half years since he fell in love with her; it's been five years since he last saw her face, last heard her voice. It's been so long, yet, to him, it was as if it was yesterday. Because he always looked forward to tomorrow, because he did not dwell in the yesterdays. To Tezuka Kunimitsu, each tomorrow is one-step closer to seeing her again, and maybe, to finally holding her in his arms.
She forgot to untie her curtains last night, so today as the sun shone through her bedroom window she promptly covers her eyes to block the reality that, yes, it was morning. She rubs her eyes and turns to her side, she sees her reflection in the newly installed mirror in her room, she smiles, it was her room, it was not her dorm room, it was her room, hers. However, more than being home, more than waking in her own bed, she was smiling because last night she dreamt of him. But unlike the nightmares that she had been having all these years, they were not arguing, they were laughing. Laughing the way they used to, the way she knew they would. Mitsu, somehow, I miss you even more.
It's been six Springs since she first held a cherry blossom in her hand; it's been five Summers since she first heard him say 'Aishiteru', it's been five Autumns since she last laughed with no regrets; it's been five Winters since she saw the mirror crashing down on her. The years has dried up the tears, has warmed up the heart, she still looked forward to each morning. Because to Amani Pei, each morning means, she survived another day without him, and each morning means, that she'll survive another day, if only to find him once again.
"Ohayou Tezuka!" Oishi greeted his best friend as they met up at the gate of the University.
"Ohayou Oishi!" Kunimitsu greeted back.
"Another term is almost over." Oishi said with a smile.
"Aa. Before you know it, you'll be a doctor." Kunimitsu nodded to his best friend.
"Ohayou Minna!" Fuji greeted as he tried to catch up with the two.
"Ohayou!" Oishi and Kunimitsu greeted back.
"Oi, Tezuka, do you have any plans tonight?" Fuji asked as he walked beside the two.
"Good. We have a reunion dinner at Taka-san's tonight, you'll attend right?" Fuji half asked, half demanded.
"Hai." Was all Kunimitsu could respond.
"Hey! Leah, what's up?" Amani said as she answered Cathleah's phone call.
"Hey! Have you heard the news about Tim?" Catheah asked from the other end of the line.
"Not really, what's up?" Amani replied now getting up from the couch.
"He's been accepted to ***** as a programmer, he's having a going away party tonight. He asked me to invite you." Cathleah explained.
"Really? Wow! Good for him, what time is it?"
"Around seven, at the usual place." Cathleah said excitedly.
"Okay, I'm going to the University today for the final clearances, then maybe I can just join you later." Amani explained.
"Hooray! Okay, you finish everything up as early as you can, so you can attend the party."
"I hope I get it all done, did you have as much trouble when you were graduating last year?" Amani inquired to her best friend.
"Not really, but you're in a medical course so it's more complicated. Just, go finish whatever it is you need to finish so you can come to the party! We'll be waiting for you." Cathleah ended happily.
"Okay, I'll see you tonight."
"Oh, Tim said you should bring Rainan with you to the party." Cathleah added.
"Okay I'll ask him."
The day was almost over, and the sun was almost a set. He walks to the tennis court and began to run around. His trainer had given him permission to leave early to attend the reunion party at Taka-san's; he was excited, and at the same time nervous, because even if it's been one and a half year since he came back home, he never really had time to see everyone yet.
"Tezuka!" Fuji called out from outside the court.
"Fuji, come into the court." Kunimitsu called out.
"Just here to take some pictures." Fuji explained as he stepped into the court, camera in hand.
"Is it exciting, being in an art course Fuji?" Kunimitsu asked as he walked over to his tennis bag.
"Hai. I'm having fun." Fuji replied snapping a few pictures.
"Oi!" Oishi waved at the two from outside the court.
"Oishi!" Fuji waved back and signalled Oishi to come into the court.
"That's a huge book Oishi!" Fuji noting the gigantic book Oishi was carrying.
"Aa. Homework." Oishi replied sheepishly.
"Here." Kunimitsu handing over two rackets, one for each of his best friends.
"What's that?" Fuji asked the former buchou.
"A tennis racket." Kunimitsu replied, it was a silly question after all.
"Why are you giving those to us?" Oishi shifting from where he stood.
"When was the last time you held one in your hands?" Kunimitsu asked the two.
Oishi and Fuji looked at each other, honestly, they couldn't remember.
"Oishi, you transferred in high school. You didn't have any sports club when you transferred. You just studied and studied. Sure you have weekend games with Kikumaru, but when was the last time you held a racket in your hands and seriously played?" Kunimitsu asked his former fukubuchou.
"I would have to say, the Doubles One match, during the Nationals, or Seigaku." Oishi admitted.
"Fuji, you were part of the Seigaku High School Tennis Club, you became their Buchou in your senior year of High School. But when did you last seriously held a racket in your hand and played to your heart's desire, whether in defeat or in victory?" Kunimitsu asked his other best friend.
"Honestly?" Fuji asked.
Kunimitsu merely nodded.
"Nationals, in Middle School, against Niou Masaharu, when he used illusion to copy you and Shiraishi." Fuji admitted.
"Then here." Kunimitsu shoved the racket into Fuji's hands. "Let's play a game."
"Tezuka." Fuji looked at his best friend.
"I'll be the referee." Oishi volunteered and ran to the umpire chair leaving his book on the ground. "One set match Tezuka vs. Fuji, Tezuka to serve." Oishi said with a smile.
"Hey sis!" Rainan called to her sister as he parked his car.
"Are you going?" Amani asked as she tried to fix the papers in her hand into the envelop she was holding.
"What are those?" Rainan replied pointing at the papers.
"Clearances for graduation." Amani replied still trying hard to fit everything in.
"Get in." Rainan signalled his sister to get into the car.
"Why did you bring dad's car to school today?" Amani asked as she opened the passenger seat door.
"Mom and Dad were using one car today so Dad let me borrow his." Rainan replied sheepishly.
"Do you even have gas allowance?" Amani asked finally getting all her papers into the envelop.
"Dad filled up the tank for me." Rainan chuckled.
"No fair! How come when I borrow the car I have to pay for my own gas expenses?" Amani whined.
"I guess I'm the favourite child then?" Rainan teased.
"You wish!" Amani stuck her tongue out as Rainan drove off.
"Tadaima." Kunimitsu called as he entered their house.
"Okaeri." Ayana smiled at his son.
"Konbanwa Okaa-san." Kunimitsu bowed.
"I thought you were going to Kawamura-kun's Sushi Place for a reunion?" Ayana asked her son as he walked pass and gave her a kiss on the forehead.
"Hai, I just need to take a shower and change." Kunimitsu explained before heading up to his room.
"Kunimitsu, your Ojii-san is going on a business trip to *insert country of choice*, isn't that where Amani is from?" Ayana asked his son, a hint of teasing in her voice.
Kunimitsu stopped in his steps after hearing the country of Amani's origin. "H-Hai."
"Are you two still together?" Ayana asked again.
Kunimitsu turned around and stared at his mother, he hoped they were still together, but he honestly didn't know if she had found someone else. After all, it's been five years since they last saw each other. But one thing he knew, in his heart there was no one else but her. "Hai." He finally replied.
"Your Ojii-san would like to meet her in person." Ayana continued, "And since this term is almost over, your Ojii-san wanted to know if you wanted to come with him?"
Kunimitsu's eyes widened. "Obaa-san."
"He'll only be there a week, so he said he could take you along so you can meet her family. You'll be back in time for enrolment for the next term so you need not worry." Ayana smiled at her son before heading to the kitchen.
"Meet her family." Kunimitsu repeated, he just stood there in the stairway, still shocked. His mother's words echoing in his ear. To him it seemed his mother was not asking his anymore, it seemed, his parents had decided that his father would indeed take him on his business trip. To him it seemed, his family has conspired against him and planned for this to happen. "I don't even know which part of that country she actually lives in." he whispered.
"Congratulations!" a bunch of people shouted as Timothy entered the dinner.
"Hey! Glad you guys could make it!" Timothy smiled at everyone.
"Congratulations!" Amani greeted Timothy.
"Thanks Ami." Timothy smiled and shook Amani's hands.
"I'm really happy for you. You deserve this." Amani patted Timothy on the back.
"Hey Ami." Timothy called out. "Congratulations as well." He smiled.
"For what?" Amani asked.
"Well, for one you're graduating this year from University. And second, for still being in love with the same man after five years, even if you don't see each other or talk to each other." Timothy explained, his voice genuine with joy and admiration.
"Tim." Amani's smile was erased from her face.
"No, it's alright. I—I guess I finally understand. It's him that you truly love, and all I'll ever be is a friend. So I'll gladly accept that position, as your friend." Timothy held out his hand.
"I'd really like that." Amani smiled and reached for Timothy's hands.
"Hope you guys get to meet in person soon." Timothy wished her all the best before going to talk to someone else.
"Looks like you two had finally settled things." Cathleah concluded as she hands Amani a glass of Mango juice.
"Yeah, I guess we finally did, after five years of struggling." Amani sighed.
"Now the only thing missing, is Kunimitsu showing up and your world will be just dandy." Cathleah smirked before walking away.
"Hey Sis!" Rainan wrapped his arms on Amani's shoulder.
"Rai, just because you're taller than me now, doesn't give you the right to make me feel so small." Amani smirked at her brother.
"Here." Rainan hands over something wrapped in paper and cloth.
"What's this?" Amani staring at the object.
"Something I've been keeping for you all these years, I guess it's about time I give it back." Rainan vaguely replied, "Oh, and you may want to wait 'til we get home before you unwrap that." He added before walking over to Timothy.
"Tezuka, you've been silent since you came." Oishi stated as he sat beside Kunimitsu while the rest of the Seigaku regulars were monkeying around the Sushi shop, with Kawamura of course very busy serving everyone.
"Oishi, do you think I'll ever meet Ami? In person I mean." Kunimitsu asked not lifting his head.
"Why do you ask?"
"Why the gloomy faces?" Fuji joined in the discussion.
"Ojii-san is going on a business trip to *insert country of choice*." Kunimitsu banged his head on the counter, making everyone turn their heads towards him.
"Ouch!" Fuji making a pained face as he stared at his former buchou's face still slammed on the counter.
"Isn't that where—." Oishi couldn't finish his sentence.
"Exactly!" Kunimitsu mumbled then lifted his head, a big red mark on his forehead from where he banged it on the counter.
"What's wrong with Tezuka-buchou?" Momoshiro asked slowly letting go of Echizen who he and Eiji had been glomping since the gathering began.
"Mou, that must hurt." Eiji's eyes widened at the sight of Kunimitsu's reddened forehead.
"There is 78.5% change that Tezuka will wake up with a severe headache tomorrow because of that." Inui adjusted his glasses.
"What's wrong with Tezuka-buchou?" Kaidoh asked no one in particular.
"Ne, Buchou, why did you bang your head on the counter?" Echizen shouted from across the room.
"Echizen!" Momoshiro and Eiji covered Echizen's mouth.
"Mada, mada dane senpai, he can't make us run laps anymore." Echizen argued as he forcibly removed his senpai's hands from his mouth.
"Minna." Kunimitsu stood up and faced the rest of the team.
Everyone gasped, their breathing stopped, their hearts raced, flash backs started flooding their head with the hundreds, maybe thousands of laps that Kunimitsu made them run back in middle school.
"I'm going to *insert country of choice* with my Ojii-san for a business trip. Hopefully I'll get to meet Ami's family." Kunimitsu announced.
Everyone exhaled in relief before anyone could react.
"Nya! Hontou? You're finally going to meet her family." Eiji jumped up and down before hugging Echizen. Because yes, five years after middle school and Eiji hasn't changed a bit.
"Wow! Ike Tezuka-buchou!" Momoshiro punched the air before joining the group hug, which meant squishing Echizen in between him and Eiji.
"Are you proposing Buchou?" Kaidoh asked with a blush on his face.
"Ano, I don't think Tezuka is ready for that." Kawamura joined in the discussion.
"When are you leaving?" Oishi interrupted.
"First week of April." Kunimitsu answered.
"Tezuka." Fuji pulled on the taller boy's arm.
"Oishi and I need to talk to you privately." Fuji signalled Oishi.
"Mou! You three have a secret again!" Eiji complained.
"Let them be Eiji-senpai, Taka-san brought a new serving of Sushi." Momoshiro eyes the new tray of sushi on their table.
"Anago!" Eiji screamed as he fought Kaidoh for the last piece of Anago on the tray.
"We need to tell you something Tezuka." Fuji started as they walked out the Sushi shop.
"We've been keeping a secret from you." Oishi said next.
"Here." Fuji handed over the piece of broken mirror that he and Oishi had been keeping all these years.
"That's a piece of your mirror." Oishi replied.
Kunimitsu's eyes widened.
"Remember the night before you left for Germany when we came over to visit?" Fuji reminded.
"I picked this up from your trash bin." Oishi pushing the mirror into Kunimitsu's hand.
"Back then, I said, that if you ever forget about the promise you made to never forget her, one day I'll give this to you so you would remember."
"But I never forgot." Kunimitsu reasoned.
"We know. But there's more." Fuji interrupted.
"We've been in contact with Rainan all these years, well, lately we haven't. But we were back in High School, until about the junior year." Oishi explained.
"Nani? How?" Kunimitsu's brows burrowed.
"We don't know." Fuji replied. "We just hear this male voice from the mirror, then one day we tried to talk to him, and we found out that it was Rainan, Ami-chan's otouto."
"Have you been able to talk to Ami?" Kunimitsu's hopes began to lift.
"Iie. Just Rainan." Oishi replied.
"Now that you're going there, maybe –." Fuji looked at Oishi.
"Maybe you can try to contact her with this." Oishi finished Fuji's sentence.
"Does it still work?"
"We don't know, we haven't talked to Rainan is more than a year. We've both been busy with University work." Fuji reasoned.
"Nothing wrong with trying Tezuka." Oishi encouraged his friend.
Kunimitsu stared into the mirror, all he could see was his face lightly lit by the streetlight. There was no girl in the mirror, no blue room, just his own reflection. Maybe. He thought.
Amani sat in her bed and began to unwrap the parcel that Rainan gave him earlier. Until she caught a glimpse of her own reflection. She didn't understand, so she stood up and walked over to his brother's room.
"Rai." She knocked.
"It's open Sis." Rainan responded from the other side of the door.
"Are you busy?" Amani peeked and saw her brother playing some computer game.
"Not really." Rainan placed his controller down and walked over to his sister.
"What's this?" Amani lifted the piece of broken mirror.
"Remember that night when I ran to your room and found you crying in front of a broken mirror?" Rainan began hesitantly.
"Don't tell me." Amani stopped her brother.
"Yes, I kept a piece." Rainan admitted.
"Because I knew one day—Well, one day I was hoping you'd see each other again." Rainan held his sister's hands.
"The reflection doesn't change anymore, but I could still hear voices." Rainan added.
"Oishi-san and Fuji-san's voices." Rainan stared into his sister's eyes which were now welling up in tears.
"Sh—Shuichiro-kun and Syuusuke-kun?"
"Yeah, they did say you call them by their first names." Rainan nodded.
"I don't know." Rainan admitted.
"I can't Rai." Amani shoving the mirror back to Rainan.
"What?" Rainan pushing the mirror back to Amani.
"I can't. I don't know what to do with that broken mirror." Amani pushed the mirror back to Rainan then ran to her room and locked the door.
Maybe it was not the best time yet. Rainan thought to himself before putting the mirror back in his drawer, the drawer that has homed it for the past five years.
Kunimitsu stared into the piece of broken mirror, asking himself what to do with it. He's been pacing his room since he got home. His father had been there earlier to tell him to start packing for a one-week business trip with him to Amani's country. He simply nodded. But now his mind was about to explode from everything that he was thinking of.
"Ami." He called out to the mirror, he waited for a response, but there was none. So he tried again, "Rainan." Still no response. Maybe it doesn't work anymore. He thought then placed the piece of broken mirror on his desk and headed to bed.
Amani laid in bed not being able to sleep. She kept tossing and turning, walking, sitting, drawing, reading, counting sheeps, staring out the window, covering her face with a pillow, lying on her back, lying on her belly, propping her feet up on the wall. Nothing seemed to work, it was one of those sleepless nights. Why would Rainan keep that mirror? She asked herself, Why do I learn about this after all these years? It was hopeless, it seems no matter what she did, this was one night, sleep will never visit her.
It's been three days since Kunimitsu got the mirror back from Oishi and Fuji. It was the last day of the term and he was beginning to lose hope of ever contacting Amani. They've been sitting under that cherry tree for hours, Oishi had that usual worried look on his face and Fuji was beginning to get irritated by Kunimitsu's hopelessness.
"Are you letting her go that easy Tezuka?" Fuji firmly asked.
"Fuji." Was the meek response.
Oishi's eyes widened, he knew this was going to end badly if Kunimitsu didn't give Fuji the answers he wanted to hear.
"Aren't you going to fight for her Tezuka?" Fuji asked again, his tone higher than the first question.
"Of course I want to fight for her!" Kunimitsu frustratedly replied.
"Then what are you doing sitting there feeling sorry for yourself? Go and get her!" Fuji demanded.
"Go and get her! Go figure out how you can send a message to her!" Fuji beamed.
"Fuji, maybe we should let Tezuka handle this one on his own?" Oishi tried to calm down the tensai.
"For someone so smart, you're really stupid when it comes to love Tezuka." Fuji stated before walking away.
"Fuji!" Oishi called out but was ignored.
"He's right." Kunimitsu agreed.
"He's right Oishi. I need to find a way. I lost her because of my stupidity before. Now that I'm being given a chance to find her again, I'm not wasting it." Kunimitsu insisted.
"You what?" Cathleah couldn't believe her ears after hearing what Amani did as they sat in a coffee shop.
"Yeah, I know, how stupid of me." Amani sulked while stirring her cup of coffee.
"I invited you out for coffee cause you've been stuck at home, and your graduation isn't until two more weeks. But now you tell me that Rainan found a way to get in touch with your boyfriend's friends and you didn't even attempt to try it?" Cathleah's voice was racing.
"I'm sorry." Amani slid her hands across the table then banged her head on her arm.
"You're stupid." Cathleah bluntly stated.
"I know." Amani helplessly agreed.
"And crazy." Cathleah added.
"Six years ago when you told me that you had a boyfriend that you only see through a mirror in your room, I never thought of you as crazy. I always thought what you had was something special. Five years ago when that dang mirror broke, you were devastated, you almost circled depression and borderline hysteria, but I never thought of you as crazy—." Cathleah continued before being cut off by Amani.
"But now this? Now Ami, of all the weird and unbelievable things you've done. Of all the unexplainable events in your life that I have fully supported you and cheered you on. But this, I cannot forgive you. You're crazy!" Cathleah concluded.
"You already said that earlier." Amani replied helplessly.
"But you're still crazy for not even trying!" Cathleah emphasized.
The flight is tomorrow. Kunimitsu thought as he stared at the plane ticket his father gave him earlier. I wonder. He takes out the piece of broken mirror from his desk, writes something on a piece of paper, folds it to a size that measures that of the mirror then placed the mirror with the piece of paper on top of it back in the drawer.
Rainan sat in his room, he was squeezing his head trying to figure out how to help his sister. It was too early in the morning to be thinking about this things, but he couldn't help it. He pulled on his drawer to take the mirror out when he noticed a piece of paper on top of the mirror. "What's this? I don't remember putting that there." He picks up the paper and begins to unfold it, his eyes widened after reading what was written on the piece of paper. He searched for his cell phone and dialled a familiar number. "Hello, Sis Leah? Rainan here. What are you doing this afternoon? I need your help!" he begged his sister's best friend.
"Ne, Tezuka, we hope you meet here there." Fuji told Kunimitsu as they were unloading the luggage from the trunk of the car.
"We don't hope Fuji, we know." Oishi corrected.
"Oh gomen." Fuji smiled.
"Arigato for seeing me off." Kunimitsu grabbed the luggage that Oishi was handling.
"We always see you off." Fuji patted his best friend's shoulder.
"Kunimitsu, when you meet her parents, apologize for me that I couldn't meet them personally. Maybe when they come to visit Japan I could meet them." Ayana said as she fixed her son's collar.
"H-Hai." Kunimitsu hesitantly replied.
"Come on Son, we need to check-in now." Kuniharu called his only child as they walked to check-in.
"Tezuka!" Fuji called out.
Kunimitsu turned his head toward his best friends.
"When the plane takes off, start counting." Fuji stated.
"Counting what?" Kunimitsu replied confused.
Fuji smiled at Oishi, who continued the sentence for Fuji, "When the plane takes off, start counting; because from that moment, in a few hours, you're finally going to see her again." Oishi said with a smile.
"And hold her hands." Fuji added also with a smile.
Kunimitsu couldn't help but smile at what his best friends said, before turning around to proceed with check-in.
"Sis!" Rainan stepped in front of Amani who was on the way out of the house.
"What?" Amani shocked by her brother's sudden appearance.
"You're all dressed up, where are you going?" Rainan interrogated.
"Mall. I was getting bored in the house, graduation isn't until next week." Amani replied trying to pass Rainan who wouldn't let her.
"You're not going to the mall!" Rainan demanded.
"Why?" Amani asked a bit irritated.
"I have the perfect graduation gift for you!" Rainan screamed and stepping forward making Amani step back a little.
"I don't get the connection."
"Here." Rainan hands over the piece of paper he found in his drawer that morning.
"My graduation gift." Rainan sheepishly replied.
"A piece of paper?" Amani raised an eyebrow.
"Open it!" Rainan demanded.
"There better be a car key or something in here." Amani teased.
"You wish!" Rainan argued.
Amani's eyes narrowed at the writing on the paper.
Flight No.: JPN411
ETD: 1400H Narita International Airport
ETA: 1600H **** International Airport
"Do you like it?" Rainan asked with a grin.
"I don't even understand what it is?" Amani complained.
"It's a flight schedule." Rainan replied a look in his face that says it all.
"I know that." Amani replied.
"So?" Rainan questioned.
"So what?" Amani still confused.
"Seriously?" Rainan could not believe his smart sister could not understand what was happening.
A horn was heard, "Rainan, I'm here!" a familiar female voice was heard.
"Great! Come on Sis!" Rainan pulled on her sister's right arm.
"Where are we going?" Amani tried to fight off her brother but he was obviously much stronger than her.
"Get your butts in here!" Cathleah signalled the two to hurry up and get in the car.
"Leah? What are you doing here?" Amani asked clueless as to what her best friend was doing in front of their house in her car.
"Get in!" Rainan practically pushing his sister into the car.
"What's going on?" Amani asked Cathleah, because obviously she was not getting a straight answer from her brother.
"Buckle up." Was the quick reply before Cathleah shifted gears and off they went.
"Where are we going?"
"Airport." Rainan and Cathleah said in unison.
"What?" Amani shocked and more confused.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We are expected to arrive in ***** in about one hour and twenty minutes, but in the meantime we are expecting to encounter a bit of turbulence, so please return to your seats and fasten your seat belts. We expect the turbulence to last for about fifteen to twenty minutes. For your safety, the serving of hot beverages will also be suspended. Thank you very much."
When the captain said they were going to encounter turbulence he wasn't kidding. Kunimitsu had been flying frequently, never had he felt airsick. But somehow this turbulence was making his insides to rumble and he seriously needed to puke. The plane began to shake vigorously and outside he could see rain clouds. Oh, Kami-sama don't let me die in a plane crash before I even get to meet her.
"This is unusual." Kuniharu told his son who looked like he was about to puke.
"Nani Ojii-san?" Kunimitsu turned his head to his father.
"Well, for one you look sick, and for someone who travels by plane a lot, you look very sick. And second, the country we're going to, it's Summer there now, why the storm clouds?" Kuniharu pointed out.
Kunimitsu turned his head towards the window and thought, That's right, when it's Spring time in Japan, it's Summer where she is. This is rather unusual.
"What time is it?" Cathleah asked Rainan as they were stuck in traffic near the airport.
"We still have time, even if the plane arrives on time, it'll take them at least another hour to get through immigration and get their luggage." Rainan replied.
"Guys, you mind telling me why we're going to the airport?" Amani still cluelessly asked as she sat in the back seat.
"Didn't you read the paper Sis?" Rainan replied.
"A flight schedule to arrive at four in the afternoon." Amani replied.
"And?" Cathleah probed.
"And what?" Amani replied.
"Where was it from?" Cathleah added.
"I can't remember." Amani admitted.
"Where's the paper?" Rainan asked.
"I think I dropped it." Amani replied.
"What?" Cathleah and Rainan said in unison.
"Why?" Amani scared of the two.
"Never mind, I memorized the flight number anyway." Rainan assured Cathleah.
"Guys?" Amani pleading for a clearer answer.
"We'll tell you when we get to the airport. Move!" Cathleah sounded her car's horn.
A female flight attendant voice was heard over the speaker, "Welcome to *****, thank you for flying J Airlines, we hope you enjoyed your flight with us."
We're here. Kunimitsu's heart was beating so fast he started to feel cold in his hands and feet. Will I finally get to see you Ami?
"Are you alright son?" Kunikazu asked the pale young man sitting beside him.
"H-Hai." Kunimitsu bowed a little before unbuckling his seatbelt as the plane came to a halt.
"You're nervous about coming here?" Kunikazu asked again.
"A bit." Kunimitsu admitted.
"Shouldn't you be excited, it's been years since you last saw her in person right?" Kunikazu opened the overhead compartment to get their hand carried luggage.
"Hai, it's been a while." Kunimitsu admitted. It's been a while since I last saw her at all.
"So fix yourself up, you wouldn't want her to see you looking so pale no wouldn't you?" Kunikazu patted his son's shoulder.
"Made it!" Cathleah declared as she parked her car.
"Why are we here?" Amani asked again.
"Sis, Kunimitsu is coming today." Rainan said in one breathe.
"What?" Amani asked more confused than ever.
"The paper, it was on top of the mirror this morning. I never placed that there." Rainan explained.
"Yes!" Rainan and Cathleah said in unison.
"Now get you butt out there and look for him!" Cathleah screamed, no, squealed at Amani.
"There!" Rainan points at something, making Cathleah and Amani turn their head towards that direction. "His flight's arrived!"
"You mean he's actually here?" Amani began to sweat coldly.
"You're not imagining him Ami, he's not some fictional character that someone made up to play with you." Cathleah shook her best friend who had a horrid look in her face.
"You're not seeing him through a mirror anymore sis, someone up there must really like you." Rainan said with a smile.
Amani was speechless, she felt like she was going to faint, her heart was racing so fast she could swear it could beat a Ferrari in a race. Her world was turning and her thought were being drowned by the crowd in the busy airport.
"Thank you and welcome to ****." The female immigration officer greeted Kunimitsu and Kunikazu as the passed by the Immigration desk.
"We need to get our bags now son." Kunikazu lead his son who came to that country for the first time.
"Hai." Kunimitsu followed his father, but his eyes were searching for someone.
Amani stood there in the middle of the arrival area her eyes wandering from here to there, her heart had no plans of slowing down, but he was nowhere in sight.
Kunimitsu's eyes continued to wander around as they exited the door from luggage to the arrival area. He knew, somehow, he knew, she was there, somewhere.
A wave of Japanese people came towards the arrival area and Amani's heart began to race faster. Why are there so many Japanese people here today? She wondered.
Cathleah and Rainan were frantically searching the crowd as well, they had no idea if he still looked the same way they remembered him, but they just had to try.
"If he doesn't show, you know this will just hurt her more right?" Cathleah told Rainan.
"Hey, positive thoughts." Rainan reprimanded.
Kunimitsu followed the crowd with his father walking beside him, there were so many natives of the country waiting for their loved ones, he turned his head left and right, he didn't know if she was really there, or if it was just him wishing she were. I don't even know what she looks like now. He thought.
"Is she coming?" Kunikazu finally asked after noticing his son being uneasy.
"I'm not sure." Kunimitsu admitted.
"But she knows were arriving today?" Kunikazu asked again.
"I hope so Oyaji." Kunimitsu replied still searching the crowd.
The wave of Japanese people had died down, and Amani was losing hope that Kunimitsu would ever show up. She exhaled desperately and was almost about to give up when a tall familiar figure appeared. His brown hair still parted on right, that strong athletic figure, those brown eyes hiding behind those rimless glasses, that stoic expression. Amani froze. It's him.
Kunimitsu was still turning his head from left to right, trying to find her. Until he noticed a frozen figure standing in the middle of a crowd, that same brown-black hair which was longer now, those brown eyes that sparkle in the afternoon orange sky, her glasses were different now, she seemed leaner than she used to, but it was her. Ami.
He stared back.
People passed by between them.
"Kunimitsu?" Kunikazu called his son who was no longer standing next to him, when he noticed his son standing some distance from him staring at someone from across the arrival hall.
He was fourteen turning fifteen when they first met, even back then he was athletic, but he's grown into a man now, his face more prominent, his body well chiselled by the years of professional training. He was no longer a boy, but a man.
"Hey, there!" Rainan pulled on Cathleah's sleeves as he spotted his sister staring at someone from a distance.
She was fifteen turning sixteen when they first met, she had always been the cry baby despite being older; but she's changed a lot, her face was still angelic but more mature, the curved of her body more prominent, her artistic hands were finer. She wasn't a girl anymore but a woman.
Amani clasped her hands together as she continued to stare, "K-Kunimitsu?" she whispered, barely audible by anyone but her.
Kunimitsu began to walk towards her until he was about an arm's length away, he stared into her eyes. He didn't know what to do so instead he bowed and said, "Tezuka Kunimitsu desu."
Amani stepped back a little, she stared at the man who slowly straightened up from the bow, she didn't know why but she found it amusing, what he said, so she smirked and replied, "Amani Pei desu." She extended her hand.
Kunimitsu shook her hands.
He nodded back.
He smiled back.
She suddenly started to laugh.
He couldn't resist laughing as well.
Kunikazu began to walk towards the couple, so did Rainan and Cathleah.
Amani suddenly stopped laughing and stared at Kunimitsu, her lips began to shake and her eyes began to well up.
Kunikazu stopped in his steps at the sight of the girl who was about to cry.
Cathleah stopped Rainan who was about to run to her sister to comfort her.
Amani began to sob.
Kunimitsu's smile disappeared.
Amani raised her hands to her face, and like an unending fountain her eyes let go of tears.
Kunimitsu stepped closer to her, until he was a breathe away.
"I—I—" Amani tried to speak up but was drowned up by her tears.
"Don't speak." Kunimitsu said cupping Amani's face in his hands.
Amani continued to sob.
"Shhhh." Kunimitsu comforted her, and stepped another, and wrapped his arms around the woman he loved for all these years, the woman he longed to embrace for so long.
Amani buried her face in Kunimitsu's chest and just cried, "I—I missed you so much." She whispered.
Kunimitsu tightened his embrace, "Ore wa imakokodesu Ami. Kesshite anata o nokosu tsumori. Ore wa anata o hogo suru, anata no sewa o osoraku kesshite, anata o kizutsukeru koto o okonau koto ga dekimasu subete o yarimasu. Kono-jikan wa, anata o eien ni aisuru." Kunimitsu whispered. Before gentle kissing Amani on her forehead.
Amani just lingered, and allowed the man she loved to hold her in his arms. A moment she prayed would last forever. Even if, they were in the middle of a busy airport.
From a distance a proud father looked on to his son, a contended brother smiled at the sight of his sister finally being with the man she loves, and a blissful best friend whipped the tears from her own eyes knowing her best friend's broken heart had just been glued back together, never to be broken again.
How they met six years ago, no one knew. How they met today, no one can ever explain. Who is a fiction? Who is a pigment of the other's imagination? Which one is real? Why and how are questions they need not answer, because theirs is a love so true is stood the test of time; because theirs is a love so pure it made two different worlds collide.
*What Tezuka said: I'm here now Ami. I'm never going to leave you. I'll protect you and care for you, I'll do everything I can possibly do to never hurt you. This time, I will love you forever.
To everyone who followed, favorited, reviewed and just made this story a part of their day…Hontouni, Arigato Gozaimasu!